tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 17, 2017 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
the major international city with basketball team. some players among tourists nearby. search for suspects. new arrests in an urgent man hunt. isis claiming its soldiers are behind the carnage and the terror. president trump tweets support for confederate monuments into racially charged controversy and demanding focus from outrageous remarks. the president promotes a debunked legend. and revealing strategy. the president's chief strategist declares, is steve bannon admitting that president trump's fire and fury was just bluster? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room.
this is cnn breaking news. >> we are following breaking news on a deadly new terror attack and a man hunt underway. a van mowing down pedestrians in a popular tourist area racing down the street at nearly 50 miles per hour screaming victims unable to get away. officials in barcelona, spain say 13 people have been killed, more than 100 injured. isis is claiming attackers are soldiers of the islamic state. the driver of the van still on the loose and police are searching for him this hour. police also say two other suspects have been arrested one from morocco and the other from a spanish onclave in africa. president trump is condemning the attack and attempting to sound tough by citing a debunk version from more than 100 years
ago. the president inflaming a racially charged issue in an apparent effort to change the subject from criticized remarks about the violence in charlottesville. sources say the president's chief strategist knew that a controversial interview would divert attention from criticism of mr. trump. bannon is quoted as saying there is no military solution to north korea's nuclear threat despite the warning of fire and fury. this hour i get reaction to the breaking stories from two members of key committees in congress. and our correspondents and specialists are standing by. first more on the terror attack and unfolding investigations.
this investigation is exploding in directions as trying to make sense of how it exploded into horror. >> reporter: police and rescue squads searching for terrorists. this was the horrific picture moments after witnesses say a white van turned and barrelled down a popular pedestrian walk way jammed with restaurants, shops and tourists from all over the world. according to eyewitnesss the van raced along clearly targeting people for a third of a mile. >> all of a sudden there was this tidal wave of people running towards us. it wasn't just a small number. it was a large number of people.
children were screaming. there was clearly a lot of distress. >> reporter: the rush for safety had local police referring to a mass trampling and it wasn't over yet. when the van finally crashed other witnesses say two armed men jumped out. u.s. officials say local authorities believe the men were trying to reach a get away vehicle. >> saying like go away there is like an armed man. >> reporter: issue s issuis iss statement saying they were part of the islamic state. amid the confusion, blood, shock and suffering a few witnesses reported hearing shots and as police led some to safety others were told they had to stay put and await evacuation as the investigation, the manhunt and the agony roared around them. >> and the confusion continues.
we keep getting mixed messages about whether or not there is possible wider cell about other events that have happened in and around this which might subject other people being complicit. we don't know if anything really happened in the restaurant. we don't know if there was gun fire. the simple bottom line here is that the questions are multiplying faster than the answers so far. the authorities are trying to play catch up. >> clearly this investigation is only just beginning and the van driver apparently still very much on the loose. >> absolutely. >> thanks for that. let's bring in our cnn terrorism analyst. what is the latest you are hearing? i know you have good sources in europe. what is the latest you are hearing about the terror investigation? >> priority number one is finding the perpetrator.
the person responsible for the attack. they are believed to still be at large. the other facet of this is that does now appear to be a broader conspiracy at play. there were two additional people arrested by authorities and the night before there was this explosion in a residence in the local area, very forceful explosion that killed one person and injured another person raising the possibility that people may have been experimenting or trying to make a bomb and maybe move to plan b in terms of a ramming attack. there are also reports of another person has been found dead. talking perhaps of a terrorist cell with half a dozen people being involved here. this is a very serious case, serious because of the loss of
life. serious because of the potential for more blood shed in the hours ahead trying to ramp up this terrorist cell before they can strike again. everything we have seen so far suggests this is an absolutely merciless group. are they connected to isis? isis have provided no proof but the mo in this attack is right out of the isis play book exactly what they call their recruits to do. it comes at a time of significant concern in spain about the threat and in barcelona. a few months ago counter terrorism police arrested nine people. that cell they believe was connected to brussels attack. for some time they have been worried about the threat to barcelona and worried that cells may move forward. in that past case they believe
they were not specifically launching any kind of plot against the city. this is a surprise to nobody that this happened. >> they believe as you point out that the explosion the night before was directly connected to those involved in the van in the van going into that crowd of people. they think there is a direct connection? >> they said they do believe there is a connection between this house explosion and the terrorist attack the next day. they did not make clear what caused the explosion. houses don't go up in a big explosion for no reason. one possibility is that they were trying to create some kind of explosive device, perhaps something went wrong and they lost some of their people and moved to plan b. investigators are trying to
figure this all out. this does not seem to be a kind of one guy kind of terror attack. this seems to be a broader cell, a broader conspiracy potentially connected back to isis. are they going to offer more proof that they were responsible in some kind of way? we will have to wait and see. >> paul, there are reports and you are familiar with them that nine people were arrested in spain back in april connected apparently to the brussels terror attack. so are there strong terror networks working within spain? we know they are working in france and belgium and the uk. what about spain? >> there are. in fact, that was the very same that i was referring to in barcelona. there have been about 200 arrests over the past few years in spain linked to counter terrorism investigations. many of the threats are being people working in spain
logistically to help others elsewhere in europe to further isis's agenda and concerns about people traveling more than 100 spaniards and spanish residents have made the trip to join isis and other terror groups. a much lower number than the number that have travelled from britain and france and germany. the threat is not as acute as other countries in spain. spain hasn't been so much in the isis cross hairs because it is not part of the coalition in terms of launching air strikes. the target is a very international target. dutch, french, brits, germans and others who have been on that street enjoying a day in this wonderful city. so this was an attack on the international community not just against spain. >> thanks very much. i want to bring in our national
security analyst. peter, isis has been losing a lot of ground in iraq and syria. the caliphate seems to be crumbling right now although they are still there. there has always been fear that as they lose ground in iraq and syria they will step up terror activities elsewhere. is this what we saw in spain today a reaction to that? >> we don't know because we don't know who carried out the attack. isis has claimed it and used the formulation of soldiers. that is a formulation they use when they haven't necessarily trained the people involved but believe that they are inspired by isis. so also no independent cooperation of their claim. that said, there has been a lot of concern about returning so-called foreign fighters. 7,000 have gone to fight with isis in iraq and syria. but of late most of those people are getting killed in places like mosul. we have had 271 french men
return from iraq to syria according to the french government. that is more than the total number of spaniards who have gone to fight in iraq and syria which as paul pointed out is in the sort of 135 range. so relatively small number of spaniards have gone to fight. in fact, this is somewhat surprising in the sense that we haven't had a jihaddest terror attack in spain since 2004 which was the al qaeda linked inspired attack on madrid commuter trains that killed 191 people. spain has been somewhat immune to the plague of violence that we have seen in france and belgium either inspired by isis or directed by isis. now, i will say these vehicle attacks, this is the 14th vehicle attack that we have had in the west since 2014. terrorists much like school shooters learn from other
incidents. the thing about a vehicle attack requires no special training and it's very hard to deter. unfortunately, we have seen 128 victims of these attacks just in the last three years. >> you are absolutely right. no special training simply to drive a vehicle into a crowd of innocent people. there is specialized training if you escape from that and do a get away. it looks like there was some sort of escape plan. i want you to stand by and get back to you. i want to bring in congressman democrat on the intelligence and foreign affairs committee. congressm congressman, we know that isis has claimed the terrorists were what they call soldiers of the islamic state. what are you hearing about who carried out this attack to what degree isis was directly involved in planning and executing. >> since it just happened so recently it is hard to say
conclusively whether isis is responsible. it is consistent with their practices of trying to inspire what we call lone wolf attacks not only in europe but in the united states inspiring people mostly to the internet and social media to take up the cause of isis and other terrorist groups. this is a phenomenon really of the last ten years or so when social media has really come into full bloom and people who are not directly in the middle east or north africa or somewhere else where a terrorist group exists or is based can still be inspired by their ideas and carry out attacks in their own homelands. >> isis has told its supporters out there through social media and the internet if you don't have a gun get a bomb, you don't have a bomb get a knife, if you don't have a knife get a car or vehicle and kill these civilians or infidels as they call them. this certainly isn't the first time they have used a vehicle to attack civilians in a european
city. how difficult is it to predict and prevent this kind of terrorism? >> this is one of the most if not the most difficult kind of terrorist act to prevent because it doesn't take a lot of planning. it doesn't require a lot of coordination with other people. they can be picked up by human intelligence. all it requires is somebody to go on the internet on their own time and the privacy of their own home and decide that they are going to carry out a terrorist act. we don't know exactly whether that is the case here. it sure looks like a lot of similar attacks have happened throughout europe and the united states. >> soon after the attack the president tweeted this. he said study what general pershing did to terrorists when caught. there was no more radical islamic terror for 35 years. he was recycling a debunked
anecdote where he supposedly used bullets dipped in pigs blood to kill muslim terrorists. what is your reaction to the president spreading this kind of misinformation so soon after this latest terror attack? >> it's not helpful at all. in fact, it's just very odd for the president of the united states to be getting on twitter and spreading a myth about general pershing and one that has been debunked. especially to do it on the same day of the attack. it is behavior that charlottesville can't explain and i know millions of other americans have struggled to explain. >> the former national security adviser to president obama tweeted this. he said trump is using made up events to support atrocities against muslims and is doing grave damage to u.s. standing
literally and seriously. do you share that concern? >> a big part of president trump's political pitch has to do with fear mongering and making americans afraid of other people whether immigrants or muslims or any other group. that is a big part of his political pitch. >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, i will talk more about the terror in spain with another key member of the house homeland security commission. and we will break down the latest round of jaw dropping tweets by president trump. how far will he go to take the focus away from his off the rails remarks earlier this week. beyond is a natural pet food
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a terror man hunt unfolding. police searching for driver in a van attack. at least 13 people are dead, more than 100 injured. isis can claiming attackers are soldiers of the islamic state. joining us now representative kathleen rice, a democrat on the house homeland security committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> here is an issue as we saw in charlottesville, virginia. vehicular attacks are extremely difficult to predict and prevent. is there anything more that can be done to stop them here in the
united states? you are on the homeland security committee. >> we deal with this issue and try to figure out ways to address this growing problem. it really has to do with the fact that people are being drawn into the terrorist fight over the internet, in the dark web and being lured into committing crimes like this in ways that are very difficult to detect. they don't require a lot of people, it just takes one person with the right mindset who is being indockrinated by terrorists to go out and commit an act with a car. how hard is it to get your hands on a car and inflict massive damage like we saw in barcelona today and in charlottesville? it's horrible. the key to all of this is if you see something say something. most times people closest to you who know if you are being radicalized or if you are susceptible to this kind.
>> we don't know if this attack was directly organized by isis. these attackers could have been inspired by the message. do you believe that so-called self radicalized attackers pose potentially the greatest challenge for counter terrorism authorities? >> they certainly are. and that is because they are very difficult to detect. they are not meeting in a public place and planning these terrorist attacks. very often they are difficult to detect by investigative measures that other terrorists acts are susceptible to. this is just one individual sitting home in front of a computer or communicating with someone in a far off land or nearby about wanting to get involved and do something and
take an action like this. it is really difficult to detect and goes back to what what we talk a lot about here in the nypd if you see something say something because the people that are closest to those who are vulnerable to this kind of indock trnuation have information that could possibly allow law enforcement to stop this from happening. >> looks like this particular terror attack was more than just one individual. two others have been arrested. they are looking for the driver. there seems to have been an explosion the night before in a house connected to this particular terror attack. it looks like it wasn't just this one individual. as you know president trump seems to be increasingly isolated within his own republican party right now. the chairman of the foreign relations committee told reporters today and i'm quoting him, the president has not yet been able to demonstrate the
stability nor some of the confidence that he needs to be successful, close quote. republican senator of south carolina told news that the president compromised his moral authority with reaction to the charlottesville attack. do you worry, congress woman, that the president is losing that moral authority of his office? >> yes, i do. if you look at the reaction to the charlottesville incident and if you look at just the two tweets that he did today regarding the barcelona incident, the first one you thought that is an appropriate response for the president of the united states. and then within a short period of time he puts out another tweet that contains false information that is meant to do nothing but insight fear with people and also even more damaging to make our allies question the resolve of this
administration and our country in fighting the terrorism. that is where he is advocating his moral authority. he does it in the form of tweets. he says one thing one minute and another the next. what we need is a consistent clear voice to our allies and our foes alike that we are united with our allies in fighting this terrorism and we are going to do it together. we need to build alliances and work together and it simply makes it that much more difficult when you have the president of the united states being so inconsistent in his response to tragedies like this. >> so what happens -- what has to happen not just democrats but a bunch of republicans expressing their concern the president is losing moral authority. what can you do about this?
>> i think the job at least for me, i'm a member of congress and also an american. i think when we are getting such divisive messages from the president of the united states especially in his messaging and his comments regarding the he is not trying to unite this country. his focus it seems and we don't know what the motivation is as of this moment, to divide people and get people angry at each other and fearful of each other. what we need to do in congress on both sides of the aisle, this is not a political issue for democrats or republicans but as elected representatives in this country we have to put all of that aside and fill that vacuum of moral authority that the president has left. we had the ability to do it. i know a lot of people in
washington. most people in washington, my colleagues are well intentioned and want to work together and get things done. we will do it with or without the leadership of the president of the united states. that's what we need to get back to doing in september when we go back to dc. >> thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> stand by for more on the breaking news we are following the terror investigation and the search for more suspects in that deadly barcelona attack. white house chief strategist steve bannon's strikingly candid remarks. were his words a blunder or were they are ploy?
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and a new culture built around customer service. it all adds up to our most reliable network ever. one that keeps you connected to what matters most. we are following breaking news. a terrorist on the loose right now. police say the driver in a deadly van attack escaped and a manhunt is underway. at least 13 people are dead in the attack. more than 100 others are injured. isis is claiming attackers are soldiers of the islamic state. let's bring in our analyst. help us make sense of what is going on in spain right now. it looks like more than just one individual was involved in this attack. >> it does. i think the key thing is the claim by isis that these are
soldiers of the caliphate. that is the same claim made after the orlando attack. that doesn't mean that isis directed or trained or financed or had anything operational to do with the attack. they believe they inspired the attack. there is no independent proof of that but it is a plausible scenario. >> it makes sense to claim that they were responsible. >> most of their claims are actually accurate. some have been bogus. this one seems quite plausible given the scale of the attack, the nature of the attack. we'll see. >> analysis of the president's tweet shortly after the attack he tweeted that he recycled a debunked legend saying studying what general pershing did when caught. there was no more radical islamic terror for 39 years. talking about the supposed
notion of using pigs blood on the bullets to kill islamic terrorists in the philippines. story they say is simply not true. >> how many ways can we say it is not true? it has been completely debunked, it's not the first time that donald trump has used it. he used it as a candidate. i think it goes to what we know about donald trump which is that it is not whether it is true. it is whether it is of use to him. what is significant here is that you saw him jumping to some sort of conclusion through this tweet and what he thinks about this which is that what happened in spain was radical islamic terrorism and he jumped to that conclusion right away even if indications were going in that direction he puts his foot on the gas when it comes to making conclusions about that at the same time when he said in his press conference about charlottesville he didn't want to jump to conclusions about what happened there. now he has set himself up in a
situation where he will jump to conclusions if it is radical islamic terrorism but not if it is white premicists. that is a problem that speaks volumes. >> what does it say about the credibility? there is a credibility crisis at the white house right now. he spreads this kind of disinformation. >> one of the most famous phrases that he uses very often is believe me. he will say it multiple times. anybody that says believe me you may want to consider believing them and take a step back and try to find out the facts yourself. i would argue that there has been a credibility crisis since day one since he sent sean spicer out there day two to complain about the crowd size of people at his inauguration. the problem is that the american people are looking for a leader. right now he is showing very little leadership. the republican party is looking for a leader. he is showing his party very little leadership. if you are a foreign leader
trying to do business with donald trump can you trust him? >> this kind of pretty inflammatory language, what does it do to the cooperation the u.s. is seeking from many majority muslim nations working to fight isis, al qaeda and other terror organization snz. >> president trump reaches in these moments for whatever statement makes him look like the strong man, the tough guy, not necessarily the guy who is going to bring people and allies together and that is the tendency and that is what you see in the tweets. what he doesn't seem to have gotten his hands around or brushed aside is that both president bush and president obama took great pains not to ratchet rhetoric to make this seem like a war of civilizations or a holy war but simply either a military or an intelligence problem that we had to address and solve and attack but not to inflame allies or enemies. >> i am anxious to get your
thoughts. >> not only risks weakening his leadership here in the u.s. domestically but internationally, as well. this comes just a day after leaders from around the world, the eu, germany, france, the middle east denounce what the president said about white supremacists. today we are hearing from the same leaders denouncing terror we are seeing in spain. it seems as though many of them are circumventing or not listening to what the president is saying. don't get me wrong, i'm sure our countries are still sharing intelligence gathering and what have you. when it comes to the president's words at least publically it seems to be weakening its global status that traditionally has always been with the president of the united states in times like these. >> stick around for a moment. we are getting more about the president's latest tweets. i want to bring in our white house correspondent sarah murray. we haven't seen the president
today in public events. we did hear from him a lot on twitter. >> the president did have plenty to say on twitter. he has really found himself on a political island ever since he made those comments equating neo-nazis. today president trump is lashing out and taking it out on members of his own party. >> reporter: president trump already isolated after controversial comments about charlottesville is driving the wedge even further. today trump cheered on a challenger, tweeting great to see that dr. kelly ward is running against flake jeff flake who is weak on boarders, crime and non factor in senate. he is toxic. and he took aim at south carolina senator lindsay game saying lindsey graham falsely stated that i said there is moral equivalency between kkk,
neo-nazi and white supremacists and people like ms. heyer. the people of south carolina will remember. trump has suggested there is little difference between white supremacists and protesters. >> i think there is blame on both sides. you look at both sides i think there is blame on both sides. i have no doubt about it. >> reporter: today hidden from view but active on twitter trump fanned flames of debate over the civil war and white identity politics turning the argument away from his own comments the president is embracing status commemorating the confederacy. sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of beautiful status and monuments. robert e. lee, stone wall jackson, who's next? washington, jefferson? the beauty taken out of our
cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be replaced. the president's embrace comes less than 24 hours after steve bannon told a reporter the democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics i got them. i want them to talk about racism every day. if the left is focussed on race and identity and we go with economic nationalism we can crush the democrats. bannon also down played his role in elevating the far right saying it is a fringe element and adding these guys are a collection of clowns. the majority of americans 55% said they disapproved of the president's response to charlottesville according to a new news poll. among republicans the reaction was flipped. 67% said they approved of the president's response.
just 22% said they disapproved. in one of the sharpest criticisms of trump yet gop senator said energizing the base isn't an excuse for fuelling polarization and called for radical changes in the white house. >> president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the confidence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. >> on top of questioning the president's competence senator corker suggested the president doesn't understand the character of this nation. pretty stunning criticism coming from someone who has been an ally to trump and who was under consideration to be his vice president. >> thank you. let's get back to our analysts. it wasn't just republican senator bob corker of tennessee who raised questions about the
stability, confidence of the president to be successful. listen to republican senator tim scott of south carolina. republican senator on the president. >> i am not going to defend the indefensib indefensible. i'm not here to do that. i'm here to be clear and concise. it's comments on monday strong. what we want to see from our president is clarity and moral authority. themorally authority is compromised when tuesday happens. >> how remarkable is it for a republican president to receive this kind of criticism from fellow republican senators? >> i have never seen and i spent a lot of times covering capitol hill. i have never seen anything like this in my life. in many ways maybe it is showing us that donald trump really is not a republican. maybe donald trump is donald trump and he used the republican party as the vessel for him to
get to the white house. the fact that corker said he is not yet able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the confidence that he really needs that is really, really damning. this is what is going to happen. a business lobbiest sent me a text that said tax reform no. infrastructure not going to happen. government shutdown maybe. sell your stocks. this is a business lobbiest that needs these things to happen. >> dow jones dropped significant number as well. started the day earlier by tweeting some attacks against lindsey graham, republican senator from south carolina. is the president growing increasingly isolated from his own party? >> he is and he wasn't particularly close to them to begin. so when he came into the white house you would hear republicans
and they even knew that they had this challenge of dealing with donald trump as the president but they said basically we are going to put our heads down and control what we can control and find places where we overlap with him. he is not hillary clinton. we have a chance to do some things here. now they are moving away i think from the idea of how can we propel the agenda with donald trump as the president because that is pretty short sighted. at this point they are starting to grapple with the idea that he could be doing tremendous lasting damage to the party brand. you mentioned maybe he is not a republican. they would argue he is not a conservative in the way that they believe that he should be. now they are trying to i think distance from him and make that apparent because this isn't just about what is going to happen in the next couple of years. >> take a look at the covers of three important magazines that were just released today. the economist, new yorker, "time" magazine. look at those covers.
it is "time" magazine hate in america. you can see the other two. this is really -- it really under scores a major uphill struggle that the president has right now. >> it was striking. here is the thing. any american president would have, should have done more or said more than president trump did this week and said it with more passion and more conviction. when you are the president who rode to popularity and when you were the candidate who insulted a federal judge, when you are the president who said you can list off other statements we would be here all day. we will do more to convince people. otherwise nearly impossible. >> let me put those back up on the screen. those major magazines.
"time" magazine. you look at the images there and it is so, so stark. >> you look at the images and remind yourself that it is 2017. donald trump was never republicans or business community cup of tea going into this administration but having said that many think they can get a lot done legislatively. health care probably not going to happen. tax reform also not going to happen. that press conference on tuesday let's not forget was supposed to be about infrastructure. of course, they turned into white supremacy and neo-nazi and people never thought they would be having to talk about. you have business leaders shunned away from this president. you have infrastructure council that was supposed to be formed now not going to be formed. and don't forget what we haven't talked about this week, the
russia investigation. when it comes to this president, let's not forget that robert mueller is leading this investigation. if anymore shoes are to drop we could see more republicans pull away from this administration and this president. >> having said all of that does it look like he has lost a lot of support among that base that helped get him elected? >> let's have the same conversation in six or seven months when he is not able to deliver the jobs. he may put the blame on fellow republicans. >> i do think that that is key because it is about energizing people. if they feel that they are not better off even if they stand by donald trump and come out and vote for donald trump with the intensity. >> let's go back to potential terror threat. you have written that i believe you fear right wing terrorists here in the united states more than you fear jihadi terrorists.
explain that. >> i would say the following. since 9/11 95 americans have been killed. and since 9/11 eight people killed by black nationalists in the united states. i'm not saying there is more or less. i'm saying we need to in the 1970s, we're even seeing left wing extreme itch with the attack on the republican congressman at the baseball game. representative was seriously injured. this year, by the way, under the trump administration, we have seen one person killed by a jihadist, we've seen four people killed by right wing extremist and three people killed by black nationalists. those numbers speak for themselves. it is not the threat is more or less. there are threats coming from a variety of different places. extreme right wing militants are
as much of a problem. >> i think he makes a good point, david. there is plenty of threats out there. >> there is plenty of threats and the role for the president and the whole government to take all of them seriously, not to decide which ones they want to pick and choose to address. >> hopefully, he and the top homeland security advisors are taking it very seriously. this is a serious threat for the whole country right now. all right, guys. standby. we'll have more on the breaking bruise on the terror attack in barcelona, spain. also north korea and the threat from there, but is the president's chief strategist now undercutting everything they're saying? (vo) my name is bryan. i'm proud to make dog chow in davenport, iowa. dog chow's been a part of my family's life for over 40 years. my grandfather made it and now i'm making it. as a micro-biologist i ensure that dog chow leads with high quality ingredients. when did you see the sign? when i needed to jumpstart sales.
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we're following the breaking news on the terror attack in barcelona today. but right now i want to turn from the threat from north korea and mixed messages coming from from the trump administration. undercutting the bth's warning that the u.s. military options are locked and loaded. what are we hearing from the president's national security team about this? >> well, you know, wolf, in the wake of these rather extraordinary remarks by steve bannon, cabinet officers today moved very quickly to say very bluntly the u.s. is ready to fight north korea.
at a state department meeting with japanese counter parts, defense secretary james mattis reiterated president trump's military strategy against north korea. >> together we will deter and if necessary defeat any threat, any initiation of hostility will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. >> underscoring a mawarning to north korea not to conduct an missile attack. >> we would take immediate specific actions to take it done. >> north korea appears to have blanked for now. several u.s. officials say there is no sign of a threatened attack on guam. but president trump's chief strategist steve bannon may have undercut any success saying there is no military solution. forget it. until somebody solves the part
of the equation that ten million people in seoul don't die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons. the reality? u.s. military planners have warned for years of that very point, attacking north korea means millions in seoul will die. it's exactly why general joseph dunfor told reporters war with north korea would be horrific, but the u.s. military continues developing military options. >> i can just assure you that in close collaboration with our allies there are strong military consequences if they initiate hostilities. >> the administration's official strategy is that pressure from china is the key to stopping north korea. but bannon also questioned how serious china is about pressuring kim jong-un, saying on korea, they're just tapping
us along. it is just a sideshow. something secretary of state rex tillerson clearly disagrees with. >> what's different about this campaign is i think the level of international unity around this campaign, the level of cooperation we are getting from china and from others in the region. >> so here's the risk of course. if kim jong-un looks at steve bannon's remarks and sees it as a bluff, is the u.s. not so serious? not able to deal with the north korean threat? that presents an entire new national security challenge. >> it does. we're just getting in, by the way, republican congressman peter king of new york, he just said first elected republican lawmaker to do so that the president should fire steve bannon. i think it's important. king said for the president to fire steve bannon. he should go. he was very upset about what steve bannon not only said about north korea, undercutting the president. he said to me his time in the
white house should be over. also upset about comments he made about what happened in charlottesville, virginia. that it's it for me. i'm wolf blitzer in the situation. erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront next, breaking news, two leading republican senators breaking publically with trump. one questioning his competence and stability. the other his, quote, moral authority. will more republicans follow? and more breaking news, a massive man hunt underway for a driver of a truck that plowed into a crowd, killing at least 13 and injuring more than 100. plus, the president's use of the world culture. is it a dog whistle to white see pr -- supremacists? two more republican senators